Lena Horne

Whispering [Dove]

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In the fall of 1946, Lena Horne, after a five-year stint at RCA Victor Records, left that major label and signed to a small independent, Black & White Records. She recorded a batch of material, including some of the usual show music standards for which she was known (Rodgers & Hart's "Little Girl Blue," Cole Porter's "At Long Last Love") along with spirituals ("Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child," "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen") and even some blues ("Beale Street Blues," "Hesitating Blues"). Soon after, MGM, to which she was contracted for films, started its own MGM Records label and she was obliged to record there. The Black & White recordings languished, but in the CD era it has turned up on any number of budget-priced reissues, and here is another one. Typically, no information whatsoever is offered about the source of the material; the liner notes are just the usual brief bio, with several factual errors. (Horne's mother certainly did not try "to deter Lena from following" the path of show business -- she arranged Horne's first audition!) The most notable thing about the album is the inclusion in the CD booklet of a series of photographs by Phil Stern, who gets his own two-page bio as well. The photos are excellent, and the sound quality of the disc isn't bad, but this is still just another package of frequently released material.

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